When Gunmen Strike, You’re on Your Own
When Gunmen Strike, You’re on Your Own by Ryan McMaken – Mises
Here is an often-used tactic to defend government police organizations from criticism. Whenever critics point out abusive tactics of police officers, defenders counter with: “And yet you won’t refuse police help the next time there’s a robber in your house!” This, we are told, illustrates that all police critics are “hypocrites.”
This has always been a dishonest tactic, of course, since “consumers” of police “services” are forced to pay for the local monopoly police force, and have no other options. Government police forces have monopolized the marketplace and crowded out many private security services. Thus, calling the police to scare off some robbers on one’s property is no more hypocritical than a critic of the local power company who nevertheless turns on a lightbulb. It’s simply a matter of making do with a high-priced, low-quality monopolist when no competition is allowed.
Just how low these low-quality services are has become more apparent in recent months.
In the wake of yesterday’s church shooting in Texas, for example, private citizens were the ones who shot back at the assailant, and then chased him down in a high speed pursuit. The police did nothing but write some reports afterward.
RELATED: “After Vegas Shooting, It’s Time to Take Private Security Seriously” by Ryan McMaken
Worst of all, of course, is the fact that it took police an hour and 12 minutes to respond to the Las Vegas shooter who killed more than fifty people as he opened fire on a crowd near the Las Vegas strip. Although hotel security had reported the location of the gunman — who had shot a security guard — even before the shooting began, local police agencies waited more than hour before entering the shooter’s room. It remains unclear why the shooter stopped shooting after only about ten minutes, but we do know that he would have been free to keep shooting for a much, much longer period of time.1
Among advocates for private firearms ownership, the old joke is that “when seconds matter, the police are only minutes away.” In Las Vegas at least, the saying could be “when second matter, the police are only an hour (or more) away.”